Cumin is used mainly where highly spiced foods are preferred. It features in Indian, Eastern, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish cookery. It is an ingredient of most curry powders and many savoury spice mixtures. It gives bite to plain rice as well as beans and cakes. Small amounts can be usefully used in aubergine and kidney bean dishes. Cumin is essential in spicy Mexican foods such as chilli con carne enchiladas with chilli sauce.
In Europe, cumin flavours certain Portuguese sausages, and is used to spice cheese, especially Dutch Leyden and German Munster, and burned with woods to smoke cheeses and meats. It is a pickling ingredient for cabbage and Sauerkraut, and is used in chutneys. In the Middle East, it is a familiar spice for fish dishes, grills and stews and flavours couscous - semolina steamed over meat and vegetables, the national dish of Morocco. Zeera pani is a refreshing and appetising Indian drink made from cumin and tamarind water. Cumin together with caraway flavours Kummel, the famous German liqueur.